Located in Central Europe, Poland attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The Polish economy is strong, and people enjoy a relatively high living standard. Poland has been a member country of the European Union since May 2004. But its gambling regulations have been in stark violation of the EU’s laws on free trading for years.
As a result, the EU pressured Poland to amend its gambling laws. In 2011, the country decriminalized online sports betting, but online gambling remained illegal. Although licenses can be obtained by domestic and foreign betting companies, the latter must comply with much stricter licensing conditions. Poland is among the few countries that prosecute casino fans and punters who dare to use the services provided by unlicensed operators.
Best Sports Betting Sites in Poland
Football is the most popular sport in Poland. Many Polish sports fans not only watch football but also wager on it. To make your life easier, our dedicated team at Bonusinsider has compiled a list of the best betting sites that accept bets from Polish residents.
Best Sports Betting Bonuses in Poland
Polish sports fans can choose from a decent range of betting sites that offer competitive odds, a multitude of betting markets, and generous promotions. For many sports fans, the promotions on offer are the main reason to select a given sportsbook. But punters should not forget that every sports betting bonus comes with specific terms and conditions.
Match Deposit Bonus
Online sportsbooks often pamper their registrants with generous bonuses from the get-go. One of the most common types of sports betting promotion for newcomers is the match deposit bonus. Such promotions are tempting because they can significantly boost your bankroll. The maximum amount you can receive from a match deposit bonus is usually limited. Punters must fund their accounts to claim a match deposit bonus. And only after satisfying the bonus turnover, you can cash out your profits.
Another popular sports betting promotion is the free bet bonus. Polish punters can use the free bet bonus to place a wager on a sporting event. If the bet settles as a loss, your real-money balance will not change. Given that your bet wins, you will collect the profit from the wager. A crucial thing to note is that free bets and risk-free bets are different promotions. Risk-free bets provide punters with the opportunity to get their stake back if the bet loses. The refund is usually paid in free credits.
Many online sportsbooks that target Polish punters deliberately increase the odds on a specific betting market to attract more betting action. If you place a wager on a market with boosted odds, you will collect more money without adding to the amount of risk involved.
Betting Regulation in Poland
Poland’s gambling history is full of twists and turns. In 1920, the first land-based casino opened its doors in the seaside resort city of Sopot. It attracted a great deal of attention from locals and tourists. Several other gambling venues were established in the early 1930s.
But during World War II, many casinos were destroyed. A curious fact is that the casino in Sopot was used as a field hospital during World War II. After the end of the war, Poland was a satellite nation of the Soviet Union. As you know, gambling was strictly forbidden in the Soviet Union. But the Polish shipping company Polferries found a way to bend the law and began offering various casino games on ferries.
In 1992, the Polish government realized that the gambling laws must be amended and started to draft new regulations. According to the new rules, casinos must obtain a license to operate, and only one casino could be established in cities with under 250,000 people.
The Act on Gambling Games
In 2009, Polish sports minister Mirosław Drzewiecki resigned over claims he was involved in lobbying for the gambling industry. As a result, the Act on Gambling Games (Ustawa o grach hazardowych) was signed into law, prohibiting all forms of games of chance.
In 2011, an amendment to the Act on Gambling Games was introduced, legalizing online sports betting and raffles. The main reason why legislators regulated online sports betting is that the result cannot be manipulated as it depends on the performance of the teams (athletes). However, severe restrictions were imposed on operators, and only Polish companies could obtain a license to operate.
But the European Union scolded the country for its restrictive gambling laws. In 2016, the Polish Senate approved amendments to the Act on Gambling Games and liberalized the sports betting industry. According to the law, only operators who obtain a license from the Ministry of Finance can accept punters from Poland.
The Polish gambling law requires ISPs to block access to blacklisted websites and redirect users to a governmental site that offers information on the sanctions for using the services of unlicensed sportsbooks. Besides, payment service providers should not facilitate financial transactions to and from blacklisted websites. ISPs and payment service providers that violate the law will face a fine of up to PLN250,000.
At the moment of writing, the state-owned company Totalizator Sportowy has a monopoly over all forms of gambling except for online sports betting and raffles. In 2021, Polish authorities announced that those who violate the Gambling Act and illegally accept Polish punters are subject to a fine of up to PLN4.4 million. Moreover, Polish sports fans are prosecuted for using the services of illegal betting sites.
Poland also introduced regulations regarding gambling commercials. Sports betting advertisements on radio and TV are not allowed between 6 am and 10 pm. Commercials should not target underage individuals and must include information on gambling-related risks. However, Poland allows betting operators to sponsor sports clubs and events.
Foreign Operators Must Meet Tight Licensing Restrictions
But obtaining a Polish license is almost impossible for foreign operators. International betting companies must meet various licensing conditions and pay burdensome licensing fees. Next to that, licensed sportsbooks must pay a 12% tax on their gross gaming revenue. Bookies who accept bets on sports competitions of animals under a specific license must pay a 2.5% tax on their turnover. Speaking of taxes, Polish punters must pay a 10% tax on winnings exceeding PLN2,280.
As a result, many reputable casino operators decided not to enter the Polish market. That is why not many betting sites are authorized to accept Polish punters. Although Poland has invested a great effort to block unlicensed betting sites, thousands of Poles use the services of foreign sportsbooks.
What is the minimum gambling age in Poland?
According to the Gambling Act, the minimum age at which Poles are allowed to take part in gambling activities is 18. Reputable betting sites that accept Polish bettors prohibit individuals under 18 years old from setting up an account.
Is it safe for Polish sports fans to use the services of international sportsbooks?
Due to unfavorable licensing conditions and high taxes, many reputable betting companies decided to service players from the local market without a license. According to Polish law, it is illegal to participate in unlicensed gambling in Poland, and Poles who violate the law can face legal action. But considering the limited choice of licensed betting sites, it not surprising that Polish punters often turn to international sportsbooks. Of course, not all of them are trustworthy. Polish bettors should check the reputation of the betting site they intend to join and make sure it supports reliable payment methods.
Do Poland-friendly sportsbooks impose fees on deposits and withdrawals?
Every betting site has a different deposit and withdrawal policy. However, most online sportsbooks do not charge Polish sports fans for adding funds to their accounts and withdrawing profits. A crucial thing to mention is that some operators charge bettors a small fee for using a particular payment method. To avoid currency conversion fees, Polish punters are advised to select sportsbooks that accept PLN payments.
Are there wagering requirements on the bonuses in Poland sportsbooks?
Usually, match deposit bonuses come with wagering requirements that Polish punters must meet within a specific time frame. The wagering requirement represents the number of times you have to wager the bonus funds before you can cash out your winnings. Sports betting bonuses that come in the form of free bets are usually wager-free.
Do Polish punters have to declare their gambling winnings?
If you use the services of a licensed betting site, you will have to pay a 10% fee on winnings exceeding PLN2,280. The fee is automatically deducted by the operator.